|We remember Jacob|
It's like when I was young, I began to assume the Viet Nam war would go on forever. I thought the protests would go on forever. Day after day I soaked in the media reports. But then the war ended, or at least we made our clumsy withdrawal. Remember those people trying to hang on to helicopters? Remember those helicopters pushed off of ships to make more room for exasperated refugees? But the war did indeed end, or at least our involvement did, belatedly.
And now we learn that the 27-year-old Wetterling investigation has total closure. It happened overnight. Our eyes bugged out as we saw the headlines. For about two days we were mesmerized by it all. And then a strange lull seemed to set in. We withdrew from the subject. Oh, but we're not done digesting all the background of this mystery/tragedy.
This is what's going on: Wetterling case researchers, journalists and op-ed writers are taking time to get caught up with their thoughts and research. The time is over for "whodunit" books. Books of a completely different nature need to be written now.
A lot transpired over 27 years. Law enforcement went wayward which is a generous way of saying they made mistakes. There was the tragedy of focusing on a wrong suspect or POI. This tragedy led to the telling of the Wetterling story in a totally cockeyed way, by asserting that the abduction was done on foot instead of from a motor vehicle. Law enforcement ought to regret what it did to that persecuted person, a farmer/teacher. But we're shocked to see that, based on public comments from the Stearns County sheriff, not only is there no inclination to show regret or to apologize, he wants to encourage suspicions toward the guy, using vague statements. I'm astonished.
|Barney Fife, in song|
I ended up doing more writing about the Wetterling case than I ever intended. I found the more that I wrote, the more I had new thoughts popping into my head. I guess this is a characteristic of a profound mystery. Law enforcement exhausted vast resources on the case. Many of those time-consuming efforts now look, in retrospect, to have been extraneous. I could become even more cynical and say the investigation became an excuse for many to burn up their eight-hour days. I have heard specifically about FBI efforts that clearly fell in that category: annual visits to some poor dude who just happened to live in the vicinity of the Wetterlings.
Were it not for the efforts of an unpaid blogger and a national media celebrity, the case would never have been cracked. We will see new books on the whole tragic episode, won't we?
For my part, in addition to my online journalism, I'm trying to commemorate the whole thing in song/poetry. Oh, I do this all the time. When I'm feeling comfortable writing this art, it is totally relaxing, not work at all. Occasionally I'll get a song or two professionally recorded.
My new creation, "The Ballad of Jacob Wetterling, RIP," has a melody tailor-made for it. But I doubt I'll have it recorded. It is such a depressing subject, but so was the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and Gordon Lightfoot wrote quite the song about that.
I invite you to read my haunting lyrics. Does this help provide closure?